Palm Trees blowing from a hurricane

Wind Mitigation Inspections and why you need one in Florida

After the hurricanes of 2004, the Florida legislature established guidelines to help homeowners reduce their homeowner’s insurance premiums based on their home’s ability to withstand a hurricane. The goal was to offer incentives to Florida homeowners who invested in mitigation techniques, upgrades, or retrofits to make their home stronger. In return, Florida homeowner’s insurance companies would give monetary incentives or discounts for Florida homeowners who incorporated the latest storm damage mitigation products and technologies in their homes.

Key Components of a Mitigation Inspection include the following:

Year Built and Number of Stories – Important in determining which building code the home complies with. The more current the building code, the more stringent the requirements for hurricane mitigation/protection it may have.

Roof Covering – The most important and overlooked element that governs the losses experienced in hurricanes.

Roof Deck Attachment – How the roof deck is attached to the trusses/rafters plays an important role in its ability to withstand windstorms.

Roof to Wall Connection – Helps establish the continuous load path from the roof through the walls and into the ground.

Roof Shape – Definition of Hip roof is a hip-shaped roof with NO OTHER ROOF SHAPE greater than 50% of ANY major wall length.

Gable End Bracing – Must be braced to meet the 2001 Florida Building Code.

Secondary Water Resistance – Must have a self-adhering modified bitumen roofing underlayment applied directly to the roof sheathing of foam if foam is sprayed from inside the attic.

Opening Protection/Shutters – Every opening, including skylights and gable vents, must be protected to receive a hurricane rating.

Wall Construction Type – Important when assessing risk as certain wall structures are stronger and, therefore, have less risk than others.

When Florida homeowners truly understand what mitigation upgrades need to be done to receive homeowners insurance premium discounts, many times these upgrades are conducted, thereby achieving the goal of the legislation. This is because the upgrades needed are often simple and/or cost-effective. Many homes in high-velocity zones have some protection already in place.

Examples of mitigation upgrades include:

  • Additional protection for one or more openings
  • Bracing gable ends
  • Installing SWR’s during re-roofing projects

In almost all cases, the cost of mitigation upgrades is less than the discount a homeowner may receive when the savings is calculated over the validity period of the inspection report: FIVE YEARS!

Based on the year of your home, you may be required to get a 4-point inspection. Most inspection companies will bundle these services together for competitive rate.